IVF counselling

On July 3rd we went to Oxford fertility clinic for a 1 hour counselling session. I wasn’t sure I would come out a positive Penelope, but it was worth a try!
We were invited into a private room with our counseller, I can’t remember her name but we’ll just call her Sue.
She was really friendly and welcoming, kind of a must when you’re a counseller I suppose. She went on to ask us why we were here and what she could do for us.
I was like “ummmm, well our 2nd IVF cycle has just failed and we’re feeling negative so we were advised by our fertility specialist to come and see you because we’re told we need to think positive.” We went on to explain everything that had happened within our 2 cycles and got onto the DNA fragmentation thing and how we were really disappointed that we hadn’t been told this before starting our 2nd cycle, seeing as we’ve now been advised to do a whole fresh cycle and discard our remaining embryo. If we were told about this then it would have saved wasting a cycle when they knew it would fail. Sue explained that the way we were feeling, which was negative, was completely normal after what’s happened and said she didn’t have much to work on with us because the way we were feeling was a good way of protecting ourselves, as she said if you feel positive that it will work, then it doesn’t, the heartache will be worse because you weren’t prepared for that to happen. Whereas if you’re already expecting it not to work, then you’re not as disappointed when you find out that you didn’t get the outcome you wanted. However, she did say that we could speak to an embryologist to get some answers about the DNA fragmentation!

Will and I sat and had a coffee whilst Sue went to find an embryologist for us to talk to. We were looking through an ‘Access Fertility’ leaflet, intrigued about the pricing of treatment should we ever need to pay. And although any treatment is extremely expensive, they actually do some fairly good deals! Ones where you can pay around £16,000 (incase being infertile isn’t enough of a strain, you have to pay thousands for something that for the majority of people is free) but you get 2 years UNLIMITED cycles and if you don’t have a baby within those 2 years you get a FULL refund! I know it’s a LOT of money, but you get it all back if you don’t have a baby! And if you do have a baby, you’ll be in debt for a lifetime but it’ll be SO worth it!

A grade blastocyst

An embyologist comes in and we explain the situation, that we were told by the guy in the lab that Wills sperm was highly fragmented and therefore we should discard our remaining embryo, start Will on antioxident therapy for 3 months, have his sperm surgically removed and start a whole fresh cycle using the PICSI method.
She said that there was clearly some miscommunication going on, as there was nothing on our notes stating that we had this conversation with anybody in the clinic, also the advise from the guy in the lab was wrong. She couldn’t answer why we weren’t told about this before and why we had to call for the results.
I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible…
So the embryologist explained that 55% of Will’s sperms were fragmented, meaning that 45% of his sperm were not. Although over half in considered ‘high’, there are still just under half that are ok. Our 3 embryo’s that made it to blastocyst were grade A, perfect quality embryos. So there would be no reason to discard the remaining embryo as it still has potential to give us a baby. She also said that they would usually only recommend the PICSI method when the quality of the embryos are poor.
She told us that so long as we still have a good quality embryo to use, then the NHS would not fund us for a fresh cycle. So the embryo that is frozen is the one we have to use for our final cycle.

Well in a way, we felt reassured. To hear that 45% of Will’s sperm was still ok made us feel so much better! Hopefully our last embryo was made with a good sperm!
At least we knew what we were doing now, and all our questions were answered.
We really hope that our last embryo will work!

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